Friday, 5 August 2016

Right turn at Cut End

The Shropshire Union canal was/is familiarly known as the Shroppie Cut, so the old boatman's name for Autherley Junction was Cut End. After a rather disturbed night (blame my carbonara, why not?), we were awake at half five and had a cup of tea in bed before Sheila set off just on six, on a beautiful morning.

I loafed for just a little while and then got going myself, finishing breakfast just before we got to the narrows where the canal was cut through some obdurate strata, millstone grit if I recall correctly. We were by now the middle boat of three and merrily chugged through what was known as the Pendeford Rockin'. (In boaters' terminology, a cutting was a rockin' and an embankment was a valley. We'll be seeing a lot of both in the next few days.)

Sheila then got her food whilst I steered; she took over again in time for the turn onto the Shroppie. She dropped me under the road bridge so that I could go ahead and give a hand to the boat in front, who was single handed. Not that he seemed to need much assistance. A boat was approaching in the distance but barely had I warned Sheila than he pulled into the towpath by the water point. Accordingly, Sheila made the turn and was committed to coming through the stop lock, whereupon the other boat, having dropped a lockwheeler, set off again.


I apologised but no umbrage had been taken and we had a bit of a chat as Sanity Again came through. Once we were underway again, I started a washload and finally was able to make the after-breakfast coffee.

We had a very pleasant run to the country moorings between bridges 7 and 8, just a bit before Brewood. We prefer it here; it's very quiet, there's a nice view over the fields and there's usually loads of room, as there was today, as long as you get here in good time. Indeed, today there are still some spaces as I type this at half four.

Once we'd got tied and the washing out on the whirligig, it was time for mid-morning coffee, after which I did an oil and filter change, the engine having now cooled down enough for this to be practicable. The only problem was, it turns out that diesel dissolves self-amalg tape and there was just a sticky black blob by the oozing joint. I've tried that basic standby, duck tape, and we'll see how long that lasts.

Like they say, if it moves and it shouldn't, duck tape. If it should move and it won't, WD40. It's still no more than an ooze, no dripping or anything, just enough to permeate the air with the scent of eau-de-diesel.

We've had a quiet afternoon, sitting out in the bow some of the time but retreating when the sun goes in and it gets chilly. It's about three hours from here to Wheaton Aston, so we plan to set out at seven, aiming to arrive at ten or thereabouts.


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